Monday, 23 July, 2018

LeBron James will not drag out free agent process

Rival GM: LeBron James would 'let the roster come together' for Lakers LeBron James: Wait, he didn’t text Kevin Durant with tempting offer?
Sergio Cook | 01 July, 2018, 13:46

LeBron James will become a free agent on July 1st, and after the Cleveland Cavaliers endured a dysfunctional season and were swept in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, many fans expect that James will bolt for greener pastures elsewhere.

The three-time champion is now the most coveted prize in an National Basketball Association free-agent class that includes All-Stars Paul George and Chris Paul.

While every team dreams of being ruled by King James, only a few have a legitimate chance of signing him. But the Lakers have slashed enough payroll to position themselves to afford James and another maximum-salary player.

James' decision to opt out of his contract in Cleveland seems to take the Rockets off the table, as they would have major hurdles in signing him as a free agent while keeping their core together.

James already has some shallow roots on the West Coast with two homes in the Los Angeles area and a film production company.

Sources told cleveland.com this week that the Cavs would not trade Love, a five-time All-Star who is owed about $50 million over the next two seasons, if James leaves as a free agent.

Per the Times, the Mavericks did not want to surrender draft compensation in a trade, preferring to pursue Jordan via free agency.

The belief is that no meetings are scheduled with any teams at this time, with James' agent Rich Paul preferring to conduct all business over the phone. The Lakers, 76ers, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers have all reportedly held talks with San Antonio.

He had until the end of Friday to opt out of the final year of his existing deal with the Cavaliers.

If the Lakers somehow fail to land any of those three players, their championship odds will quickly plummet.

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported the news of James' decision.

With some savvy moves, the Lakers are poised to potentially add two superstars - James and Paul George and maybe Kawhi Leonard - to a team featuring up-and-coming talents like Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

James signed a three-year deal in 2016, with a player option for the third year. He averaged 14.1 points and 11 rebounds in 71 games, all starts, and shot a career-best 59 percent from the field.

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